Orange Cranberry Sauce

DSC_0045

Happy Thanksgiving! As one who didn’t grow up in the States celebrating thanksgiving, it is now one of my favorite holidays. I enjoy it so much more now that I have kids, and we are trying to build our family traditions and identity. It has been a ton of fun for me as I am learning how to make traditional thanksgiving meals from scratch, and putting my own little spin on a few of the dishes. One of the easiest places to start has been the cranberry sauce. We did the canned sauce for a couple years, and poor us…. we didn’t know any better 🙂 Last year, I ventured out and made the sauce at home, and it was so easy and delicious that I can never present a can to the clan again.

The best part is you can easily make it a day ahead,  let it cool down and then refrigerate. That makes one less thing to worry about on turkey day! Happy thanksgiving from my family to yours. May we remember to take time to reflect on the blessings that God has bestowed on us!

Ingredients:
1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, rinsed
Zest of one orange
1 cup fresh orange juice (about 6 oranges)
1 cup sugar
1 stick cinnamon, or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
DSC_0032

1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and stirring occasionally, cook until the skin on the cranberries starts to pop. This takes about 8-10 minutes.

DSC_0034

2. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.
The sauce can be made a day or two in advance.
Enjoy!

Devotion For The Day:

As we count our blessings during this thanksgiving season, here are a few verses to reflect on.

Psalms 106: 1 Praise the Lord! Thank the Lord because he is good. His love endures forever.
Isaiah 12:4  At this time you will say “praise the Lord and worship him. Tell everyone what he has done and how great he is.

Roasted Salsa Verde

DSC_0039My family loves salsa, and we keep tons of it in the pantry at all times. I usually go for the store bought jars for onvenience, but sometimes I just want the real deal. I was having one of those days recently, when I was craving a homemade salsa. My plan was to make chicken enchiladas, and my salsa of choice when it comes to enchiladas is almost always salsa verde which simply means green salsa. I had almost everything on hand, except for tomatillos and jalapenos, so a quick trip to the store later, I was armed and ready to go.

If you have never tried salsa verde before, you are totally missing out. It is such a great breakaway from the usual red salsa, and goes great with chicken. Of course you could just dip your tortilla chips too 🙂 I won’t judge. Tomatillos look a lot like green tomatoes once you take the peel off, but they are actually not from the same family. They are pretty easy to find now at almost every grocery store in the US, even Walmart carries them now.  The best way to select the ones with the best flavor is to look for those that have smooth, firm skin(underneath the peel), and to pick smaller ones. The big ones are more bland in flavor. You could boil them, but I find that I prefer roasting them for depth of flavor. To prepare them for roasting, just take the peel off, and wash them. The peel makes the tomatillos feel waxy, but a good wash will remedy this.

DSC_0020My family loves spicy food, but the 3 jalapeno turned out to be just a little too spicy for one of my kids (my two year old handled it just fine, but the older one ended up mixing some sour cream in with her salsa to tone it down). That being said, please adjust the jalapeno to suit your taste. I took the seeds and ribs off two of the jalapenos, and left the seeds in one. I might just take all the seeds out next time. Removing the seeds and the ribs of the peppers makes them less spicy. You could even omit the peppers all together for a mild but still flavorful sauce.

The recipe yielded about 3  cups of salsa(which is a lot!), which we ate with chips and then used for chicken enchiladas on day 2. The sauce should keep well in the fridge for a few days, and can also be canned for longer storage. You can easily half this recipe.

Ingredients:
2 pounds tomatillos, cleaned and halved
2 large onions, peeled and quartered
3 jalapenos, quartered (and seeded, if you prefer)
8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:

1. Adjust your rack in the oven 3/4 way to the top, and turn your oven on broil. Arrange your tomatillos, onion, jalapeno and garlic on a cookie sheet.

DSC_00242. Put the in the oven and broil for about 8 minutes, until the vegetables start to get a little charred, but not burned. Pull the pan out and set aside to cool down until it is cool enough to handle.

DSC_00253. Peel the garlic and put in a blender with the other vegetables. Add in the lime juice, cilantro, cumin and salt. Pulse the blender until you achieve your desired consistency. I like a slightly chunky salsa.

DSC_0028

Enjoy!

DSC_0035

Devotion For The Day:

For the last week, I have been studying the book of Nehemiah. I would highly recommend reading it. It’s not terribly long (13 chapters), but has such an incredible story. The jist of the story is that the Israelites having rebelled against God, in judgement were taken captive by the Babylonians, and their glorious city of Jerusalem was reduced to ruins. After many decades had passed, many of the exiles had returned to Jerusalem, but it was still in ruins, and they were very vulnerable. At this time, Nehemiah was a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, and was devastated when he heard of the state of the city. After much prayer, he felt compelled to lead the efforts to rebuild the city. He prayed every step of the way, and his godly leadership led the people of Israel to rebuild the city in record time, as well as to recommit themselves to God.

The verses that I’m sharing today are from Nehemiah 9. At this point, the city is rebuilt, and Nehemiah is their new governor. He leads the people into a time of fasting and praying as they confess their past sin and rebellion, and also recommit themselves to following God’s laws that they had turned away from. As a people, in chapter 9 they are reflecting on their past, and God’s faithfulness and provision for them, but also their unfaithfulness and rebellion to Him. I totally loved verse 19. They paint such a perfect picture of who God is, even in the face of who we are… fallen and unfaithful. His love and compassion never fails.

Nehemiah 9:19-21. “Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take. You gave your Spirit to instruct them. You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst. For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet become swollen”.